Skip Bayless talking LeBron James' retirement. Skip Bayless talking LeBron James’ retirement. (Undisputed on Twitter.)

Discussion of LeBron James possibly retiring in the wake of his Los Angeles Lakers getting swept by the Denver Nuggets in the NBA’s Western Conference Finals took over sports talk programs Tuesday. And one of James’ longest adversaries, Fox Sports’ Skip Bayless, declared on Undisputed he doesn’t put any stock in the idea of James retiring right now:

Some selected quotes from Bayless’ run there:

“There is no way LeBron James is going to retire, in my humble estimation, at this moment. …His feelings were hurt. He was crushed. He knew what had happened. He had had a sensational first half and just couldn’t sustain it.”

…”LeBron knows in his heart of hearts, even the team, with as many negatives as you could throw out today about the squad he has right now, they would have had a real shot of beating Jimmy Butler and company for the NBA championship. Because we saw it three years ago in the bubble.”

…”This is almost like a page out of Aaron Rodgers’ handbook. …It changes the whole narrative to ‘Oh my god, Aaron, please don’t retire, please don’t force a trade! We need you! We love you!’ In some ways, I thought ‘Is LeBron doing that?’ I just think his feelings are hurt and at the last second he’s thinking ‘Okay, I’m going to throw this out, I’m just going to throw this out.’ And it does deflect blame a little bit away from their team, and him, and everything that just happened. All of a sudden, he knows, he just changed the narrative to a bombshell story. Because I’ve never heard anything like this, I’ve never heard him suggest retirement at all.”

James, who will be 39 in December, has played an incredible amount of minutes. Basketball Reference has him with 54,093 across the regular season and the postseason, third in NBA history (behind just Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (with 57,446) and Karl Malone (with 54,852). So talk of him retiring isn’t necessarily absurd, especially after he brought it up, and after sources close to him added to that. But, as Bayless notes here, there’s a useful change-of-conversation here for James.

And James has previously spoken of a desire to keep playing and perhaps one day play with his son Bronny (who’s headed to USC this fall). And he’s still performing at a high level. So Bayless’ take here may wind up being proven right. But it’s certainly interesting to see someone who has so often bashed James praise the level he’s still playing at and say there’s no way he’ll retire this offseason.

[Undisputed on Twitter]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.